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38 rare paintings of Tagore go on show

Shiv Sahay Singh
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Warm reception: President Pratibha Patil is received by West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan (behind Ms. Patil) and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the airport in Kolkata on Monday. Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi is also seen. — PHOTO: PTI
Warm reception: President Pratibha Patil is received by West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan (behind Ms. Patil) and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the airport in Kolkata on Monday. Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi is also seen. — PHOTO: PTI

For decades, only students of art and experts could lay their eyes on the largest repository of the paintings of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore at the Visva Bharati university. But now the public will have access to 38 never-before-displayed treasures of art, for three days from Tuesday, at an exhibition to be inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil at the Nandan Art Complex here.

“I do not think there has been such an exhibition at the university ever before,” said varsity Public Relations Officer Amitava Chowdhury here on Monday.

The paintings have been chosen from the 109 works of art preserved at the university's Kala Bhavan. Along with this, Rabindra Bhavan has a collection of 1,582 paintings.

“This exhibition is important because there are exhibitions of his paintings being held across the world and as Europeans and people from other parts of the world have an opportunity to see his paintings, this exhibition will present an opportunity for the people in Santiniketan to look at his art works,” Udaya Narayana Singh, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Visva Bharati, told The Hindu , pointing out that such an exhibition at the university was being held after at least 70 years.

The paintings to be exhibited display the new horizons Tagore opened up by the use of line and colour.

Experts point that it was only in his late sixties that Tagore took to painting seriously, starting from his deletions and erasures, which he called “causalities in my manuscripts,” that took shape as paintings. Two paintings in this exhibition — one that looks like two pots and the other an anthropomorphic snake — reflect his experimentation with this unique form.

“While in literature and music he comes out to be imbibed in Vedic or nationalist spirit, in painting he transcends it and becomes borderless,” says a professor at the university.

Most of the works that will be displayed are untitled, as a reminder of his style of anonymity.

According to professors at the university involved with the exhibition, the paintings on display will point to the use of the reverse line, of the white of the paper, and of various media.


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